Work has resumed at two Pennsylvania natural gas wells owned by Houston-based EOG Resources, Inc. after the company resolved a blowout at a third natural gas well nearby. Based on an Associated Press report, inspectors from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection examined the two wells but did not find any safety or environmental violations. Several other wells owned by EOG Resources remain closed.
The Department of Environmental Protection ordered work to stop at all three wells after an accident occurred at one well located on the grounds of the Punxsutawney Hunt Club in Clearfield County. On June 3, this well suffered a “blowout,” discharging natural gas and brine into the surrounding air for sixteen hours before workers managed to cap the well. Although the well did not catch fire and no one was injured, EOG Resources was ordered to close down operations until all three of its wells could be inspected.
The blowout consisted of both natural gas and a mixture of sand, water, and chemicals, which are inserted into a well to bring the gas to the surface. These chemicals are dangerous to humans and can kill fish and other wildlife if they are discharged into waterways. The Department of Environmental Protection is also taking water samples from nearby creeks to determine whether the well’s discharge has damaged local waterways, but so far no contamination has been found.
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